Bill Takes Aim At Drug Overdose Deaths In California
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Aired 4/5/13 on KPBS News.
As the death toll from drug overdoses continues to rise, a bill in the California Assembly would require the state to take steps to address the problem.
SAN DIEGO California doesn't have a state plan to curb the epidemic of prescription drug overdose deaths. A bill just introduced in the state legislature would change that.
The measure, submitted by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), asks lawmakers to convene a statewide task force on drug overdoses and develop recommendations to address the problem.
The bill also creates a $500,000 grant program to encourage communities to set up overdose prevention efforts.
The Drug Policy Alliance is a major supporter of the measure. There is no known opposition.
Peter Davidsonof the division of global health at UC San Diego's medical school said prescription drug overdoses are a major threat.
"Let me put it this way: it's now the single-largest cause of accidental death in the United States. More people die from this than motor vehicle accidents," Davidson explained.
In 2010, more than 4,000 Californians died from a drug overdose, including 228 San Diegans. Prescription painkillers were the biggest culprit.